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The Rishel / Montandon Covered Bridge, Circa 1827 by Gene Walls
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The Rishel / Montandon Covered Bridge, Circa 1827 by 


The Rishel / Montandon Bridge has been cited as the earliest existing covered bridge in the country. The Rishel Bridge was originally constructed by John Shriner and Zacheus Braley, between 1825 and 1827. The bridge is still serving the public in the same location where it was built, at least 182 years later!

According to the official historical record, the sign that was added to the bridge displays the wrong year for the date that the bridge was built. This bridge was in service in 1827, and possibly even earlier than that. This very important historic site was listed on the United States National Register of Historic Places on August 8, 1979.

This bridge was inundated in 1972 by the areas worst flood. It was the result of severe rainstorms from the remnants of hurricane Agnes. The Agnes low pressure system became nearly stationary over central and north eastern Pennsylvania. That caused this area’s most devestating flood disaster on record. The flood water line is clearly marked on the bridge, just below the roof! After the waters had finally receded, the bridge was still there, but badly damaged. The bridge required substantial “strengthening” after the flood. That work was completed in 1982. The bridge is owned and maintained by Northumberland County.

High Water Mark from the 1972 Agnes flood

This beautiful bridge is located just east of Montandon, Pennsylvania on state RT-45 (just a few miles from Lewisburg, PA), It is on Covered Bridge Road as it crosses the Chillisquaque Creek. The bridge is still open to traffic, in fact, several cars passed through the bridge while I was photographing it. However, there are severe restrictions on vehicle weight and height.

This photo was captured with a Canon EOS 10D body fitted with a Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L Zoom lens, at the widest focal length. The shutter speed was 1/4th sec at f/9.5. The camera’s ISO was set to 100. A Manfrotto, tripod was used.

Your comments are always welcome! Constructive criticism is appreciated.

© 2009 Gene Walls

All copyright and reproduction rights are retained by the artist. Artwork may not be reproduced or altered by any process without the express written permission of the artist.

This photo has been viewed 534 times as of July 11, 2011

Featured in “Historic Places”

Tags

bridge, covered bridge, creek, historic, historical, pennsylvania, red, stream, timber, water

Hello, My name is Gene. I live in the Susquehanna river valley (West Branch), in the mountains of north central Pennsylvania. I strive to produce photographic images that are simply “true” to the subject, usually with minimal post processing. If something is beautiful or interesting enough to deserve a viewer’s attention, it justifies being captured just as it is …or as close to reality as possible.

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Comments

  • Fran E.
    Fran E.almost 5 years ago

    Gorgeous, love the red to make sure it is seen from afar and as well blends in the landscape.

  • Thank you very much Poupoune! That is very wise of you to notice! Yes, the bright red color was often used to alert travelers from a distance that they were approaching a bridge ahead.

    Most gratefully,

    Gene

    – Gene Walls

  • DonnaMoore
    DonnaMoorealmost 5 years ago

    Wonderful shot Gene….Great information…:))

  • Thank you very, very much, Donna!!!

    Best wishes,

    Gene

    – Gene Walls

  • Russell Fry
    Russell Fryalmost 5 years ago

    Beautiful shot Gene! What is on the other sign on the left corner of the bridge? I can’t quite make it out. :)

  • Thank you very much, Russell! Your question is so appropriate that I decided to add a full explanation in my description.

    The small sign says:

    1972 FLOOD
    WATER LINE
    ___________

    My best,

    Gene

    – Gene Walls

  • Debbie Meyers
    Debbie Meyersalmost 5 years ago

    Beautifully captured.

  • Thank you very much, Debbie! I just added some more information to my description, in case you’re interested in seeing it.

    Best wishes,

    Gene

    – Gene Walls

  • Judy Seltenright
    Judy Seltenrightalmost 5 years ago

    Excellent find & capture.

  • Thank you so much, Judy! It is a wonderful bridge with lots of great history behind it!

    My best,

    Gene

    – Gene Walls

  • mttmaliha
    mttmalihaalmost 5 years ago

    Wow, still in use!! Beautiful as always, Gene!

  • It’s definitely still in use! I almost got run over when I was taking interior shots! LOL

    Thanks, Maureen!

    Gene

    – Gene Walls

  • mttmaliha
    mttmalihaalmost 5 years ago

    Oh gene! Be careful, dang it!!!!

  • Good advice, my friend. I’ll try to do that!

    – Gene Walls

  • Russell Fry
    Russell Fryalmost 5 years ago

    Thanks for the follow up on my question, Gene! I remember that flood very well. The volume of water that the streams and rivers carried was unbelievable.

  • I was serving in the Army at the time, but when I returned to Pennsylvania I saw the aftermath. It was truly incredible. I am amazed that this old bridge actually survived that flood. I know that many of the great PA covered bridges were totally destroyed by Agnes.

    – Gene Walls

  • Joy Watson
    Joy Watsonalmost 5 years ago

    wonderful angle gene.

  • Thanks, Joy! There weren’t very many options for interesting angles available here, the adjoining property is privately owned and protected by fences all around. I really appreciate your very kind comment!

    My best,

    Gene

    – Gene Walls

  • michael scott
    michael scottover 2 years ago

    nicely captured and such interesting background info…thanks for both!

  • Thanks a lot, Michael! Unfortunately, this great old bridge was badly damaged last September by a terrible flood and had to be closed to traffic. I took some photos of the damage that are shown here, Hopefully, it will be restored very soon.

    Best regards,

    Gene

    – Gene Walls

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